Researcher Studies Growing Biofuel Crops on Brownfields

A professor at Michigan State University (MSU) is researching the possibility of growing biofuel crops on polluted former industrial sites called brownfields.

Speaking on’s Inside Renewable Energy podcast, MSU Crop and Soil Sciences Professor Kurt Thelen was enthusiastic about the implications of his research. If all goes well, the crops will be healthy enough to use as fuel. Thelen also hopes the crops will clean up the polluted soil through bioremediation. “I’m excited for myself, for our farmers, and for our nation as a whole, to reduce our reliance on foreign oil, at least in some small way,” he said. Thelen is growing oilseed crops such as soybean, sunflower and canola, which produce vegetable oil for biodiesel. He is also growing corn for grain ethanol and switchgrass for cellulosic ethanol. Want to learn more about Kurt Thelen’s research? Check out this week’s edition of Inside Renewable Energy. Also in the program: Ways to make your home more energy efficient.
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I am a reporter with, a blog published by the Center for American Progress. I am former editor and producer for, where I contributed stories and hosted the Inside Renewable Energy Podcast. Keep in touch through twitter! My profile name is: Stphn_Lacey

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